German train company Deutsche Bahn (DB) had some great news from rail enthusiasts this weekend, announcing that one of their high speed trains will be travelling to Britain for the first time next month. The visit is the first of many trial runs of a direct Frankfurt to London rail link that DB hopes to start operating in December 2013 (just in time to visit the excellent Christmas markets the German city hosts!)
Cheap trips by rail to Germany from London are already possible via a change in Brussels, but the connection does add to the journey time. This only serves to make a new, longer distance cross channel rail service more appealing. A possible stop on the route is Cologne, and with more than 20 breweries in town producing the delicious local beer, kolsch, Cologne is one of the best holiday destinations in Europe for a weekend break. Deutsche Bahn already sell London to Cologne tickets on their website, but including wait time in Brussels this takes anywhere between 4.5 and 5.5 hours. The direct service will take this down to just under 4 hours, making it a very viable travel style compared with flying.
Rail expert Mark Smith, founder of specialist rail site The Man in Seat 61 predicts that cheap trips between London and Frankfurt (or Cologne) could start at as little as 49 euros or even 39 euros. A new entrant into the international rail market can only serve to reduce fares, which are already very competitive with air travel.
If you can’t wait until 2013 for your European rail adventure, check out the Eurostar website. Their own service operates between London St Pancras and both Paris and Brussels, but the website allows you to book travel to stations all over France, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland using connecting services. You can also purchase tickets starting at your local UK station for a connecting service through to London. Train travel to Europe just keeps getting easier!